Sunday, April 1, 2012
The three trees
"I looked at the three trees; I could see them plainly, but my mind felt that they were concealing something which it could not grasp, as when an object is placed out of our reach... Where had I looked at them before? Were they not numbered among...dreamscapes...?"
"...They were inviting me to probe a new thought, [and] I imagined that I had to identify an old memory... I chose rather to believe they were phantoms of the past."
"I watched the trees gradually recede, waving their despairing arms, seeming to say to me: 'What you fail to learn from us today, you will never know.'"
"And when, the road having forked and the carriage with it, I turned my back on them and ceased to see them, while Mme de Villeparisis asked me what I was dreaming about, I was as wretched as if I had just lost a friend, had died myself, had broken faith with the dead or repudiated a god."
It is these kinds of associations and memories that Proust explores in the final volume, the "truths" of the past that were never clear to him; at last, at the very end, the past becomes real.